My name is Valancia and I am a ninth grader.
I want to talk about the issue of school being too stressful for me and my peers. At my school it’s to the point where many of my peers use unhealthy substances to cope with their stress.
At my school many students use bad coping mechanisms like vaping to relieve their stress from school. They often lack the knowledge of what vaping and other addictive substances can do to their bodies and minds, and how addictive these substances can be. If schools don’t offer better ways to reduce stress, teens will continue to follow this trend and relieve their stress through unhealthy habits. But this is not their fault because many teens cannot focus when they’re stressed out at school and may fall behind in their classes. On multiple occasions I find students at my school going to the bathroom to vape, and many times they’re on their phones talking about how much stress they have from their classes. This is because the teachers at my school go too rapidly and assign multiple intensive projects at the same time. I feel like there should be a rule that each class may only assign one large project at a time. This would be a major way to relieve students’ stress.
For example, CP classes go slower than CPA classes but do they give students the time of break that they need to be able to learn, the environment of those two types classes are not what people who experience mental health challenges need. They need the choice and decision to ask if they need a moment of break so they can ease their stress level because every time you go to class you have to put your feelings aside. And it’s especially difficult for teens when their stress piles up, and they feel like they’re going to burst. It would be better if my school had group meetings to help students cope with stress and discuss ways to stop vaping. Right now, my school is not doing enough to address the stress that it causes teens, especially freshmen who are new to big schools like myself. Instead, we should have better mental health support to help students reduce stress.
More engaging classes can also help reduce stress. Sometimes, I just do the work at school for a better grade, not because I want to. School becomes a chore where the only things that seem to matter are the grades. This doesn’t make school feel fun for me because I feel like I’m just going to school to pass my classes instead of going to learn in a comfortable environment. But my Chinese class is different. The teacher makes sure that each of us learns at our own pace. For example, she uses flash cards to introduce new Chinese characters which helps us recognize them better. We also engage in active learning where our teacher splits us into groups and we work together to learn the flash cards. The teams try to learn the flash cards together because the members of the winning teams get prizes that can be used as currency in the class. In my Chinese class, I feel like we’re learning while having fun in a more comfortable environment and I want more classes to be like this.
This matters to me because I see my generation trying to ease their stress from school and at home by taking unhealthy substances that work fast but have bad effects for the future. While these substances may ease their emotions, they are also addictive so my peers keep relying on these substances to help with their stress. Right now, my school does not do enough to help students ease their stress or address what’s happening in their lives outside of school. Schools are not factories, they should be healthy learning environments where we are supported instead of stressed out.
“If schools don’t offer better ways to reduce stress, teens will continue to follow this trend and relieve their stress through unhealthy habits.”
“Every time you go to class you have to put your feelings aside. And it’s especially difficult for teens when their stress piles up, and they feel like they’re going to burst.”
“School does not do enough to help students ease their stress or address what’s happening in their lives outside of school.”
“More engaging classes can also help reduce stress.”